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The newbie skill plan


An note on Odyssey

This skill plan was initially made during the Incursion era, and the blog post was released after Crucible had been released. Since then, the Retribution expansion switched around ship and weapon stats a fair bit, including a couple of skill changes. If you've come here through some old link, you should probably have a look at the updated post-Odyssey version instead.

Get on with it!

So once again, the question has been raised how the nasty evil EVE skill system discourages new players. My answer to this (now that learning skills are gone) is: hogwash. People giving new players bad skilling advice discourages new players. In particular, you often see people suggesting the most ridiculously high-level skill plans — everything to lvl V — as some kind of “minimum starting point” when it should rather be a year-long goal to get to that point.

As a result of a forum thread on this exact topic during the summer of 2011, a more reasonable skill list was produced as something new players can get into right now (relatively speaking). At this point, though, that post is lost in the depths of the (old and archived) forum, so it might be a good time to recreate that list and how it extends up to, roughly, the first month.

The goal here is to create a character that can take on any kind of newbie combat role, including things like light-weight exploration, scouting, and even some ewar. The character used for this exercise was Minmatar, based on the general perception that, at least among smaller ships, Minmatar have a couple of really stand-out entries. As a result, the skill list reflects this in ship, weapon system, and ewar skills — adapting it for a different race means replacing those skills for their other-racial equivalents. The common counter to this is that Minmatar characters need to be good at everything, suffering especially from things like split weapon systems or schizophrenic tanking styles. Fortunately, the chosen skills covers this and for races with a more clear-cut preference for a single weapon system and/or a single tanking style, this can be used as a method to save SP and time for that new character.

The plan is cut up into three key steps: enough to fill up your free (900k skill point) α-clone; enough SP to fill up a β-clone (1,380k SP); and enough SP to fill up a γ-clone (2,050k SP). With the starting attributes and maybe the help of a few implants, these stages can be reached within (roughly) two, three and five weeks, respectively (or, with a friendly sponsor and lots of implants and cash, a bit faster than that). It's also important to note that not all prerequisites are listed, particularly if they mainly open up skills that are more relevant to the intended goal for the character.

Alpha clone

900,000 SP limit. Free clone. ~14 days.

  • Cloaking II
  • Electronics IV
  • Electronics Upgrades I
  • Long Range Targeting III
  • Propulsion Jamming III
  • Signature Analysis III
  • Survey III
  • Targeting III
  • Energy Grid Upgrades III
  • Energy Management III
  • Energy Systems Operation III
  • Engineering IV
  • Shield Management III
  • Shield Operation III
  • Shield Upgrades III
  • Tactical Shield Manipulation I
  • Gunnery IV
  • Motion Prediction III
  • Rapid Firing III
  • Sharpshooter III
  • Small Projectile Turret III
  • Surgical Strike III
  • Trajectory Analysis III
  • Weapon Upgrades III
  • Armor Rigging III
  • Astronautics Rigging III
  • Hull Upgrades III
  • Mechanics III
  • Repair Systems III
  • Salvaging III
  • Shield Rigging III
  • Acceleration Control III
  • Afterburner III
  • Evasive Maneuvering III
  • High Speed Manuevering III
  • Warp Drive Operation III
  • Astrometric Aquisition II
  • Astrometric Rangefinding II
  • Astrometrics III
  • Biology III
  • Cybernetics I
  • Destroyers III
  • Minmatar Frigate IV
  • Spaceship Command III

This tier gives you the classic newbie frigate user for tackling, scouting, and shooting other frigate users (and as a Minmatar with Destroyer III, you get the curiously awesome Thrasher for… various mischief). Some of these skills are, in a sense, superfluous at this level — the dual-tanking with both shield and armour tanking and rigging in particular — but it helps build a solid foundation for the next layers. Again, a more focused character can use these as a way to get to the good stuff faster and for less SP.

Beta clone

1,380,000 SP limit. 40,000 ISK per clone activation. ~20-25 days.

  • Combat Drone Operation II
  • Drones IV
  • Drone Durability II
  • Drone Navigation II
  • Scout Drone Operation II
  • Cloaking III
  • Engineering V
  • Medium Projectile Turret III
  • Missile Launcher Operation III
  • Standard Missiles III
  • Rapid Launch III
  • Target Navigation Prediction III
  • Thermodynamics III
  • Minmatar Cruiser III

While this list seems to be very focused on missiles (which only really become nice once you get the cruiser and can fit an assault launcher), the real key component to this tier is actually the Thermodynamics skill, which instantly and drastically improves what you can do with your ship. Yes, at this low level and with none of the support skills, it will burn out modules quickly and/or take ages to repair the damage, but on the other hand, we are still talking about T1 frigates and cruisers and T1 modules — they are dirt cheap to replace to the point where repairing them is rather wasteful and almost pointless.

Gamma clone

2,050,000 SP limit. 65,000 ISK per clone activation. ~35 days.

  • Combat Drone Operation III
  • Drones V
  • Drone Durability III
  • Drone Interfacing III
  • Drone Navigation III
  • Drone Sharpshooting III
  • Electronic Warfare Drone Interfacing II
  • Scout Drone Operation III
  • Electronic Warfare IV
  • Target Painting III
  • Heavy Assault Missiles III
  • Heavy Missiles III
  • Missile Launcher Operation IV
  • Missile Projection III
  • Warhead Upgrades III
  • Battlecruisers III
  • Spaceship Command IV

…and there we go. A character that can do pretty much anything you could conceivable use a T1 frigate for; fly basic cruisers, except maybe as miners and remote-support ships (for which the T1 hulls suck anyway); and which can at least somewhat competently fly battlecruisers. L3 missions can be done with ease (especially if you've gone Caldari instead, at which point the good old Drake is almost good enough to take on L4 missions).

OMGz n00b!

Indeed. That's the whole point. It's not a complete character — it's a start. However, for the SP and time invested, it can do a surprisingly wide array of things and do them competently. Player skill (and training) can further augment this to a surprising degree, contrary to persistent rumours that (character) skills are all that matter. For the EFT warriors, I present this character file, which contains all the skills listed here. Just dump it in your EFT character directory, see what you can build with it and what it can do, and remember, this is maybe a month or so into the game.

Happy newbie…ing… um, yeah.